It is Day #2 of the snow and ice event that walloped one-third of the nation over the weekend. As I’ve mentioned before, just like most of the U.S., (and world for that matter), our weather has been wacky and erratic for several years. There is no rhyme or reason to the seasons. I sure was not complaining about our lack of snow here in the Mitten State, with just one significant snowfall to date, which happened on Veterans Day. Yet, my uneasiness persisted, since yes, it is Winter in SE Michigan, thus I found myself glancing backward as if Ol’ Man Winter might tap me on the shoulder and say “get ready, I’m back from my holiday!”
These ugly weekend weather events are poorly timed, as my walking regimen takes a major hit – weekends are when I go on my longer treks to the bigger parks. Last Saturday, it was torrential rain, 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) over 24 hours, followed by freezing rain. The ice melted by Monday afternoon, so Tuesday I was back at the Park, happily tripping along the perimeter path and feeding my peanut pals who rushed over to greet me like long lost friends.
This weekend, however, mere steps, and not miles, will count, since my trek entailed going down the driveway and along the sidewalks, with my snow shovel in tow and not straying away from the house. This picture was taken under the patio roof where I sought shelter, hoping to get some snow shots, but needing to protect the camera from the snow, which was falling in earnest. Though the snow piled up in some places, along the perimeter of the house, some melting had already begun since it was 35 degrees F (1C).
Actually, I was looking for critter or bird tracks, but the snow had been falling about an inch per hour, so any overnight tracks were long gone. After taking just a couple of shots, I took the camera back into the house and when I opened the screen door to go out to shovel, evidently a squirrel had seen me, as there were fresh tracks right outside the door.
I smiled as I figured it was Grady and stepped back into the house to grab the camera and some peanuts, then back outside to look for him for some pictures; all the while my gloved hand was protecting the camera while holding onto a handful of peanuts.
But, I soon discovered it was not Grady, but another gray squirrel, the poor fellow who suffers from mange on his entire body. He has no fur except for his skinny tail. I feel badly whenever I see him and always slip him some extra peanuts. He is quite skittish and a bit of a loner.
I saw a trail of prints leading to the front yard …
… so I traipsed through the snow and found this squirrel perched on a snow-covered cement ledge. The ledge is about six feet high. He was clearly agitated and chattering at me (no doubt his teeth were chattering too). He watched me intently, but there was fear in his eyes. I just melted seeing him distressed like that and spoke softly to him, then slowly I reached over and placed four peanuts on the cement ledge, positioning them deep in the snow to stay put. But, there would be no pictures and no further interaction, since he deemed I invaded his personal space, so, with a screechy sound, he made a humongous flying leap from the high ledge, across the front of the garage door, to the front porch. I held my breath that he would not fall onto the concrete and be killed since he made such a hasty departure. Whew! He made it and scampered off. Afterward, I measured with my booted feet and that was about a twelve-foot jump! I left the peanuts in place and hurried and shoveled a clear spot and put more down – he did not return to the house until three hours later, when I was finally ready to go inside and no other squirrels dared to venture out yesterday.
Five inches of snow had fallen when I went outside yesterday at 9:00 a.m. or so and it was the heavy stuff. There was some significant blowing and drifting that occurred at the beginning of the snowstorm. Freezing rain started halfway through the shoveling job and last night temps dipped down in the teens and the wind chill made it feel like 1 degree F (-17 C). Just for good measure, overnight an inch of snow fell on top of the glare ice that formed, plus gusty winds. I will go outside later and sweep as we have snow flurries now. The expression of “misery loves company” sure applies to this snowstorm, since 100 million Americans are dealing with snow/ice in some form or another as a result of this event. How many days until Spring?
Because I am a realist and knew the “real Winter” would arrive sooner or later, I got as many long treks under my belt as possible while the weather was clear and dry. The cold is never a problem for me – I just add some additional layers and grin and bear it.
Since this weekend’s weather was “no walk in the park” as that expression goes, instead I’ll focus on a trek I took back on December 7th at Lake Erie Metropark.
I’m going to do that trek as a separate post as this one has become a wee bit too long and the Gutenberg Editor has been temperamental today.